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For The New Republic Magazine, December 2020

Words by Clive Thompson, Art Direction by Lindsay Ballant

"The strange new rush to space privatization."

"The world’s small community of space ethicists has, in recent years, been increasingly pondering this, and they’ve have come to some unsettling conclusions.

First off, they note, the big winners in space will likely be the big winners on Earth.  “I think it’s going to benefit the wealthy people that are running these mining firms,” Schwartz says bluntly. There are, as New Space investors today will tell you, winner-take-all dynamics. Bezos built a supply chain that is helping Amazon gradually dominate the world. Space will probably have room for only a few winners. So in order to envision the future contours of space conquest, it’s probably a safe bet to take all the harms of monopoly we see on this planet and project them onto a literally cosmic scale.

And that leads, in turn, to a corollary prophecy: Human rights in space are likely to be execrable, if they’re left up to the private sector."

As published at tnr.com